Friday, September 26, 2014

Let's Make Some Beer

I have homebrewed now since 2008, when my started with a very homely, cobbled together, 'brew  kit', back in Prague. As is in my nature, I have read, and read, and read books on homebrewing, from introductory texts to tomes of technical data about the various stages of the mashing process. I never tire of reading about brewing and gleaning new ideas, thus I got a copy of 'Make Some Beer' by Erica Shea and Stephen Valand, the founders of the Brooklyn Brew Shop.

Subtitled 'Small-batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamberg' the book has about 35 recipes, inspired by breweries around the world, as well as ideas for food to pair with the beers. The recipes themselves are designed to make a single gallon of homebrew, and there are scaled up versions for those doing 5 gallon batches. The recipes are clearly written out, with clear instructions for performing the various stages of the brewing process. However, there are no technical details such as original gravity, calculated IBUs, and other useful numbers.

Rather than being a dry collection of homebrew recipes, anecdotes are littered throughout the book, providing back stories to each of the recipes, and giving the reader a sense of the writers' personality.

Overall, 'Make Some Beer' is a well written, diverse collection of interesting recipes and stories. While it may lack some of the technical details of other homebrew books, it is an easy resource to dip into when looking for an idea for a recipe, and I look forward to scaling some of the recipes up to my own small batch size of 2.5 gallons.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Few More Drops

On Saturday afternoon, Mrs V and I went to Three Notch'd Brewing Company. Nothing unusual there in the slightest, though we did have Mrs V's best friend, visiting from South Carolina, in tow and it was her first time to Three Notch'd.

Having ascertained that both ladies wanted pints of Session 42, I wandered to the bar and ordered 3. While I had been standing waiting to order, I got chatting to a bloke from the North West of England who was planning to fill a growler of Session 42, as he had, apparently, every day of each weekend that the beer was available. Not revealing my role in the creation of the beer, I was thrilled to hear people raving about the beer.

I have drunk very little other than Session 42 for a while now, yes I am biased, but it is a magnificent best bitter that would more than grace the bars of Yorkshire. As pint 3 was being poured, the keg kicked, and much to my chagrin that was the last keg in the building. So I had my half pint topped off with Oats McGoats to make a lovely black and tan, and lamented the passing of my favourite beer.

Thankfully though it is available in a few of my preferred bars in Charlottesville, so next stop was the Whiskey Jar so I could get my fill. We returned on Monday at their opening time, a very civilised 11am, and another 4 pints were reveled in before midday. Nothing like marking Labor Day with the working man's drink. Each mouthful was a melancholy delight as I wasn't sure when I would be able to have more, given the fact I rarely drink during the week these days.

This morning though I had a text message waiting for me on my phone, from the brewmaster at Three Notch'd, Dave, telling me that they had brought a few kegs from their satellite brewery in Harrisonburg back to Charlottesville. Suddenly this weekend looks as though it will have more Session 42 in it, which makes it a much brighter prospect.

Note: Mrs V keeps mentioning that I can always brew Session 42 at home, which is true, but I get the sense my favourite pubs would be rather miffed at me for trying to drink a homebrew version in their establishment.

Homebrew - Cheaper than the Pub?

The price of beer has been on my mind a fair bit lately. At the weekend I kicked my first keg of homebrew for the 2024, a 5.1% amber kellerb...